New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is running for re-election, made his first overseas trip as the state’s chief executive to Israel last week.
During a quickly arranged, 30-hour Unity Mission that took place during an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire, the governor was accompanied by a bipartisan delegation that included Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senate Co-Presidents Dean Skelos, left in top photo, and Jeffrey Klein and Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman.
Klein, a grandson of Holocaust survivors who represents the 34th District in the Bronx, called his participation in the trip “a natural extension” of his work in the Senate, which includes sponsorship of a bill that would bar state funding to universities that participate in an academic boycott of Israel.
The trip was Klein’s third to Israel, “but for sure the most productive,” he told The Jewish Week; he called a tour of a Hamas “terror tunnel” from Gaza to southern Israel a highlight.
The senator, who also is up for re-election this year, spoke about the mission on Shabbat at three local synagogues. “My constituents were delighted that I made the trip.”
The group’s itinerary in Israel also included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin and other political leaders, a visit to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and a lunch meeting at Big Apple Pizza in Jerusalem with New York students who are attending the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The students, above, shared their experiences of living in Israel this summer during the Gaza war.
“We pray for peace,” Cuomo told Netanyahu at the prime minister’s office. “We stand with you in defense. All of New York stands with you.”
Cuomo’s office announced that his political campaign paid for the trip.